Ifeanyi Onuba and Idris Adesina
Players and officials of the Super Falcons were on Friday paid various sums of money as approved by the Federal Government after the Nigeria Football Federation received the sums.
However, some of the players have said they were shortchanged by the federation in the payment of their entitlements.
The Federal Government on Friday released the sum of N358m to the NFF to offset the team’s allowances and bonuses. The FG also released an additional N113m to pay the outstanding winning bonuses for the Super Eagles in their 2018 World Cup Qualifying matches against Zambia and Algeria.
The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation on Friday released to the Central Bank of Nigeria the payment mandate of $1.17m (N358m) to settle the allowances of the protesting Falcons.
The payments were confirmed in a statement from the OAGF signed by the Director, Information, Mrs. Kene Offie.
The statement said the release of the payment mandate to the CBN was sequel to an earlier approval given by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The statement read in part, “The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has released the mandate to Central Bank of Nigeria for payment of naira equivalent of $1,173,820.00 at N305/$ to Nigeria Football Federation to pay outstanding winning bonuses for Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Matches and for the Super Falcons’ participation in the 10th Women’s Africa nations Cup.
“This is in furtherance of the approval from Hon. Minister of Finance for the said amount to be paid. The mandate which is a sum of three hundred and fifty-eight million, fifteen thousand, one hundred naira only has been paid by Central Bank of Nigeria as at Thursday December 15, 2016.”
It added, “Similarly, another mandate for the sum of one hundred and thirteen million, eight hundred and twenty thousand, six hundred and two naira only has also been released by Office of Accountant General of the Federation for the payment of wining bonus for Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying matches; and for the Super Falcons’ participation in the 10th Women’s Africa Nation’s Cup.
“This amount has also been paid to Nigeria Football Federation and is equally sequel to the approval of the Honourable minister of Finance.”
And according to the NFF, a breakdown of the Falcons’ monies showed that each player got N5.4m.
The federation said, “Each player got N5,494,500, less the sum of N600,000 that was earlier paid to each of the players at various times by the NFF. The amount is at the rate of $17,900 (converted to naira at the official rate of N305 to $1), plus the sum of N15,000 camp allowance and N20,000 transport allowance. All the monies were converted at the official rate of N305 to $1.
“Coach Florence Omagbemi got a total of N11,014,000 (less the sum of N800,000 paid to her earlier), while assistant coaches Ann Chiejine, Perpetua Nkwocha and Bala Mohammed, as well as the backroom staff were paid N8,274,250, less the N500,000 earlier paid to each of them.”
But our correspondent learnt on Friday that the players may be set for another showdown with the federation as they should have got more than the sums paid by the NFF.
The federation reportedly owes each player up to $25,000 for allowances and match bonuses from thequalifier for the 2016 AWCON against Senegal to the 1-0 win over Cameroon in the final on December 3. The federation is also reported to owe the players for a 2016 Olympic qualifier and the 2015 All-Africa Games, where the team finished fourth.
Each player’s entitlement is equivalent to N7.6m at the exchange rate of N305/$ at which the FG released the funds on Friday.
Some of the players, who pleaded anonymity, said they have got the alerts but the money was not their full entitlements as their bonuses and allowances for the AWCON qualifiers were not included.
“Some of us have been receiving alerts while they said the others will come later but what we are seeing is not the full amount we ought to get,” one of the players said.
“Our total bonus and allowances shouldn’t be less than N7m each but we are getting alerts of less than N6m. The allowances and bonuses for the qualifiers have been left unpaid.”
Another player said, “This is really unfair to us because we worked for this money. We have been patient for this long and for the NFF to shortchange us at the last moment is an injustice on their part.”
The Falcons, who beat hosts Cameroon 1-0 to win the AWCON in Yaounde on December 3, protested the non-payment of their entitlements since December 4, when they returned to the country. They refused to leave their Agura Hotels, Abuja lodge until their allowances and bonuses were paid.
The eighth time African champions marched on the Presidential Villa and National Assmebly on Wednesday to press home their demands, which prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of funds to pay them.
The treatment meted out to the record African champions by the Nigerian authorities is in sharp contrast to that received by the Indomitable Lionesses from the Cameroonian government who were treated to a welcome ceremony by President Paul Biya despite finishing as runners-up on home soil. (Punchng.com)